European politicians have voted against kicking illegal file-sharers off the Internet on the grounds that it would infringe on civil liberties and human rights.
The margin was a narrow one against the proposal, which is part of a wider EU-backed campaign to stimulate creative arts in Europe. The amendment was added to the Bono Report on the Cultural Industries, written by French MEP Guy Bono, to inform forthcoming European parliament policy that would encourage growth in the region's creative industries.
The vote pitches MEPs against national governments, all of which are keen to take action against persistent pirates. For example, last November the French government announced legislation that would oblige ISPs to act as anti-piracy watchdogs. The British government too has aired similar plans, but ISPs have objected strongly to being forced into that role.
The MEPs' vote has no legal force and leaves national governments free to implement their own anti-piracy plans, but it is indicative of mixed feelings among law makers.
According to the BBC, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents Europe's music industry, said the amendment was 'badly drafted' and contradicted the rest of the report.
'We look forward to a full discussion in the European Parliament in the coming months on how best to address copyright theft online,' said the IFPI.